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  • Gita Jacobson

Tips for Your Master Bath Remodel

When most people explain their dream master bathroom to me I hear phrases such as “spa-like,” “zen,” and “retreat.” They want an over-the-top bath experience - a place to get away from every day life and recharge..(and hide away from the kiddos).


Here is my list of tips when going through a master bathroom remodel:


1. Start from scratch

For most people remodeling your master bathroom means ripping out an existing, outdated master bathroom that was designed in the 80’s - complete with brightly colored subway tile, massive soaking tub, and an oddly laid out floor plan.


Since everything has to get gutted and redone it’s a great time to rethink the layout and flow. Most of the time, unless your bathroom is on a slab, changing around the layout doesn’t add that much scope for the contractor. Another way to think about it is you will already being paying a lot of money to remodel, why not pay a little extra to make the layout work properly for your needs. Odds are when you go to resell your home the layout change will be appreciated by the next home owners as well.


When considering changing layout think about tip #2.


2. Make the bathroom usable by more than one person at one time

Master bathrooms usually are shared. So use this opportunity to create 2 spaces within one bathroom that are personalized for each individual. Here are things you should consider:

  • When possible always put in a water closet - a separate room for your toilet. This allows someone to use the toilet while another person is getting ready. It’s also one of those things that most master bathrooms are expected to have - if they are large enough.

  • Put in double sinks. Even if you don’t mind sharing a sink, having two sinks in a master bathroom is expected by home buyers. It also gives each person a chance to personalize their space by adding specific electrical outlets, medicine cabinets, and accessories.

  • Maximize the size of your shower as much as possible. The master shower needs to make a statement and also be large enough to potentially accommodate more than one person getting ready at the same time. If you have a large enough shower you can put in 2 shower fixtures across from each other.

3. Be honest about what you really need

Ah the free standing tub. It’s beautiful to look at but do you really need it? If you’ve ever tried to get into one of these or bathe your child in one of these you know - they’re dangerous, slippery, and difficult to get in and out of. On top of that they take up a lot of space in the bathroom and use up a lot of water.


I almost always recommend not putting in a tub into the master bathroom. You’re better off using that space for your spa-like shower, extra-long vanity, water closet, or extra storage.


On occasion, I do get clients who are “tub people.” For these clients I recommend looking into jetted tubs that provide more functionality or putting in a hot tub in the backyard.


4. Don’t forget the details!

When I design a bathroom I think through just about every aspect of it - including where to hang accessories such as robe and towel hooks, towel bars, toilet paper holder, etc.

If you don’t, then you may discover that there really isn’t an optimal place to hang your towels because there’s a pocket door where the towels should hang or plumbing running through a wall that you can’t puncture. Having a shower is just as important as having a towel to dry off!


Other details to think through…

  • Where will your hand towels hang? If you have double sinks then each sink needs a towel close to it.

  • Will the placement of towels make it easy to grab them when you are finished washing your hands or when you step out of the shower?

  • Which way will the shower door open? Will it impede someone who is standing at the vanity getting ready? Will it cover hanging towels?

  • Is there a good space to hang a toilet paper holder that isn’t on the side of your vanity? If not can you use a freestanding toilet paper holder?

5. Use high-end fixtures and finishes

There’s a lot of finishes that you need to purchase to bring your bathroom to life. The worst thing to do is cost-cut by downgrading materials. Read all about why to purchase plumbing fixtures and tile from showrooms vs. big box stores in my previous posts.


Cheap plumbing fixtures will fail. Cheap tile won’t lay right. Remember that you get what you pay for. And since you use the bathroom multiple times, every day, it’s important to buy high-quality items that will last!


Prefab vs. custom vanities. Custom vanities will almost always be of higher quality and be built to your exact specifications. If you do want to buy a prefab vanity make sure it is made out of solid wood and comes from a brand that you can go back to if there are issues. Think Restoration Hardware vs. a small no-name online shop.


Most solid wood prefab vanities are almost as expensive as custom vanities. The added benefit of a prefab vanity is it comes with a counter top and sink whereas a custom vanity is only the wooden vanity. You will need to purchase the counter top slab and sink and pay for fabrication separately.


Happy remodeling!

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